Cross-Channel disruptions plunge Dover into traffic chaos near the port

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Dover has been plunged into traffic chaos, with roads blocked near the port caused by the disruption of cross-Channel ferries and bad weather.

The suspension of P&O services, with three of the company’s ships docked in Dover, was partly blamed on long queues in the area.

Bad weather in the English Channel and traffic jams caused by tourists heading to Kent for an Easter getaway are also believed to be contributing to the traffic jams.

Drivers have been forced to wait hours to board ferries after measures were triggered to control the movement of heavy goods vehicles in the area.

As part of Operation Brock, trucks heading towards Dover are allowed to use one side of the M20 while all other traffic is restricted to a contraflow system on the opposite side.

The Department for Transport (Dft) said efforts were being made to minimize disruption.

As part of Operation Brock, trucks heading towards Dover are allowed to use one side of the M20 while all other traffic is restricted to a contraflow system on the opposite side (PA)

“We are aware of the queues in Dover, and the Kent Resilience Forum and local partners are working to minimize any disruption by deploying temporary traffic management measures as standard,” it said in a statement. .

“It was caused by a number of factors, including extreme weather conditions in the English Channel.”

MP for Dover Natalie Elphicke blamed the delays in part on P&O Ferries, which she says is still not operating following “failed security checks” on its new crews.

Ms Elphicke warned the disruption is expected to last for the next few days.

“The traffic disruption caused by P&O’s actions is very serious. Coupled with unfavorable weather conditions and Easter traffic, the situation has become serious. We can expect this to continue for the next few days,” she said.

The problems have caused an “unacceptable impact” locally, she said.

Nick Gale, a teacher from Kent who is traveling with his family to Calais for a trip to Amsterdam, said they had been stuck for “over two hours” and had missed the ferry they had been booked on.

“No communication from port staff. The policeman said it was basically the perfect storm, less ferries… plus bad weather and (the) P&O problem,” he told the PA news agency.

Mr Gale slammed “awful” communication around Dover, saying non-freight travelers didn’t know what to do.

“I think around Dover it’s awful, there’s no communication about what non-freight customers (have to) do. We are local to the area so we knew a few ways to avoid the huge queues but it literally doesn’t budge,” he said.

“We have no food and an eight-year-old child in the back is moaning.”

P&O Ferries Announcement
Operation Brock is activated as lorries queue on the M20 in Ashford, Kent, on Friday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Port of Dover said the main access roads were “busy” on Saturday morning and urged passengers to allow extra time for their journey.

“We are working with operators to get people on their way as quickly as possible, but ask passengers to please allow extra time for their journey and to contact their ferry operator for travel advice,” he said. -he declares.

He said the lack of P&O services continues to impact the remaining ferry operations.

National Highways said it was helping to manage traffic on the M20 alongside Kent Police.

Its website says the eastbound M20 J11 entrance slip road remained closed on Saturday morning “to handle freight traffic”.

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